What is Creosote
Creosote is a formed from the distillation of tarry, carbon compounds and pyrolysis of organic - plant based materials. Soot and tar are other common names for creosote and some other "interesting" names include; "creo-soot", creosol, creolsol, black chimney dust. There are many types and ways creosote is formed including as a by product of burning woood.
How is Creosote Formed
When you burn a fire, creosote is formed as a by product of incomplete combustion. The off gases from the smoke condenses as it travels away from the fire - heat source producing carbon, water, combustible deposits on the inside of your chimney. The black residue that builds up is defined as creosote.
How to Clean Creosote - Chimney Maintenance and Service
It is important to have your wood burning unit inspected by a qualified Chimney Professional to look for any defects, determine system compliance and ensure the unit is ready for use. When the creosote deposits inside the chimney are 3mm or greater, the chimney should be swept.
Problems from Creosote Deposits
Creosote and Chimney Fires
As creosote accumulates inside your chimney, it restricts the venting draft of the wood burning appliance and causes poor function. Creosote is also a fire safety hazard, as it can ignite and cause a dangerous chimney fire.
Types of Creosote Deposits
There are different types of creosote and stages that are formed. The type of creosote formed is dictated by the type of wood, amount of oxygen supply, moisture, temperature and the venting process.
Different Stages of Creosote Deposits Found in a Wood-burning Chimney
Stage 1 Creosote
Stage one creosote is mostly composed of sooty carbon deposits - "creo-soot". Stage 1 creosote can be easily removed during a chimney sweep service. This type of creosote is a natural by product of wood burning when there is adequate combustion air, the flue system is warm and is venting properly and wood with a low moisture content is being burned.
Stage 2 Creosote
Stage two or second degree creosote is a little thicker than stage 1 and can have shiny, thin flakes. This type of deposit is formed by several factors including inadequate oxygen supply to the fire. This type of deposit can generally be removed with a chimney power sweep. Power sweeping is a chimney sweeping tool that utilizes a rod system and cleaning head attached to a drill. The drill powers the chimney sweep system to power clean the interior.
Stage 3 Creosote
Stage three creosote is also defined as glazed creosote, or glaze. The black tarry substance is produced when when the combustion is incomplete. The incomplete combustion is often attributed to the flue temperatures inside the chimney being cool, poor oxygen supply, poorly functioning and venting wood burning system, wet wood, the use of a gas log lighter.
Stage 3 - Glazed Creosote
Gazed creosote is very difficult to remove as it solidifies and fuses right to the surface. In most cases an aggressive chemical treatment repair to chemically convert the glaze into another stage is needed to be able to power sweep it out of the chimney.
Glazed creosote is a very dangerous type of chimney deposit, as it is loaded with fuel energy. When the stage 3 ignites, it fuels a chimney fire with intense heat.
Puffed or Honeycomb Creosote
Fluffy puffed creosote that looks like honey combs is associated with a chimney fire. This type of creosote is produced during the intense heat